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Tireworld Insight: SHFE rubber expected to move in tight range in short-term

The benchmark rubber contract for September delivery on the Shanghai Futures Exchange (SHFE) ended 0.29 percent higher at 15,680 yuan/tonne on March 28.

The settlement price was 0.45 percent higher than that logged a week earlier.

Market observers say the Shanghai rubber price is likely to keep fluctuating in the short-term, against globally rising output and growing stockpiles in China, the world’s largest rubber consumer.

According to the latest statistics from the Association of Natural Rubber Producing Countries (ANRPC), major rubber growing countries saw their combined natural rubber output expand 19 percent year-on-year in February, and that in January-February up 10 percent from the same period of last year.

Those countries, except Vietnam and Sri Lanka, saw a higher natural rubber output in the first two months of 2014 compared with the same period last year, according to the ANRPC.

China's natural rubber output in January-February grew 33.3 percent, higher than any other country. It is expectedChina's natural rubber output will remain high this year.

China had 30 to 40 percent of its natural rubber output purchased for state reserve in 2013, which led to a lower sales pressure, despite a higher output last year.

Meanwhile, stockpile pressure remains high. As of March 14, the bonded zone in coastal city of Qingdao had rubber stocks of 353,800 tonnes, about some 10,000 tonnes more than a month earlier.

While the  natural rubber output and stockpiles are rising, the downstream demand has been slack since the beginning of this year.

So far this year China's tire makers, the major consumers of rubber, posted a lower operation rate than previous years.

China produced 2.0517 million automobiles in January, down 4 percent from December, and sold 2.1564 million automobiles, up 1 percent from December.

In a breakdown, heavy truck production and sales declined 12.46 percent and 35.96 percent respectively in January.

In the meantime, the resumption of harvest in some rubber parks in Yunnan province since March 18 has triggered speculative operations, with more long positions coming into the market this week, SHFE data showed.

Analysts warn that the new rubber coming onto the market could lead to a further price drop of old rubber stockpiles.